FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. -- Maj. Gen. Maria R. Gervais, deputy commanding general of the Combined Arms Center -- Training, thanked family, friends and fellow Soldiers for helping her attain a new rank.

"This honor really belong to all of the people I have served with who assisted me along the way and who have developed me into the leader I am today," said Gervais at her June 9 promotion ceremony.

In particular, she thanked Maj. Gen. Robert M Dyess Jr., the acting director of the Army Capabilities Integration Center, who officiated the promotion ceremony.

Dyess told a story about Gervais who wanted to enter as an Army physical therapist, but instead was assigned to be a chemical officer.

Later Gervais expanded on the story by relating how she handed her chemical officer assignment letter to her father, CW4 (R) Robert J. Rea, who was an Army and Air Force veteran.

"I told him there must be some kind of mistake," she said. "He said, 'There is no mistake…You failed to read the fine print…which states you serve at the pleasure of the people of the United States and the Army, and the Army needs you to be a chemical officer.'"

She recalled her father saying, "You need to get out there and be the best chemical officer you can." He added, "And don't get fired."

Gervais went on to be the commandant of the Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear School at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. Last year she left that position to lead the Combined Arms Center -- Training (CAC-T).

"CAC-T is a phenomenal organization with a great mission and even greater people," she said. "I know I am extremely blessed to serve as the DCG."

After receiving her second star, Gervais reflected on how her father's wisdom stays with her.

"I recognize this is a big honor and an even bigger responsibility," she said. "My goal is to continue heeding my Dad's advice and continue striving to do the very best job I can and never disappoint or lose the trust that has been placed in me to continue serving in our Army on behalf of our nation."

CAC-T fields training systems, delivers leader training and sustains training capabilities to support Army institutional and operational training of Soldiers, leaders, and units to successfully execute Unified Land Operations in complex, ambiguous environments.

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